3/13/2014 9:19:31 AM
App Store Gold Rush Comparison, Not That Different From 1848
App Store Gold, Flappy Bird, Junk apps, California
App Developer Magazine

App Store Gold Rush Comparison, Not That Different From 1848

Richard Harris Richard Harris in Monetize Thursday, March 13, 2014

On January 24, 1848, an event occurred in California that would forever shape the United States. A man named James W. Marshall was building a sawmill for Captain John Sutter, and using water from the South Fork of the American River. He noticed several flakes of metal in the tailrace water and recognized them to be gold. He tried to keep the discovery a secret but the word spread quickly, and triggered the California Gold Rush of 1849.

Some 80,000 immigrants poured into California during 1849. By the 1850s miners were coming from places all over the world—Britain, Europe, China, Australia, North and South America.

Sound familiar? The California gold rush story has been compared to the app store many times and anymore I’m starting to think the comparison is dead on. After the gold petered out in California, many miners simply headed home, but some of them stuck around to see what else they could find productive in the land, and I think this will eventually happen in the app stores too.

Eventually I think we will experience a decrease in new app inventory because some of the “miners” will start to go home when they think there is no more gold to find. They will quietly move on and leave the remnants of their apps behind (think Flappy Bird clone disasters). That begs the question though, what will Apple and Google do with all of the "app litter" that will be left behind?

For the rest of us that are in this for the long haul, we all know the surface gold is becoming more rare. But sticking around will lend to us the wealth of the land because it’s a wide landscape. New devices, bigger audiences, and better tools will help us be even more successful than the over-crowed and “stuffed fill of junk” app stores we are all feeling now.

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